The differences between president Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto burst into the limelight again yesterday as the leaders traded barbs over performance of the Jubilee government.
Speaking in Nairobi during celebrations to mark 100 years of International Cooperatives Day, the president hit out at political leaders who had failed to discharge their duties for eight years and were now offering empty promises ahead of the General Election.
“We have some leaders moving around making a lot of noise about what they will do yet they had an opportunity to serve this country for the last eight years. We have Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya here who has done a lot in three years,” said Uhuru, without making direct reference to his deputy.
The president criticised leaders focused on the rear view mirror instead of what they can do in the present, likening such behaviour to that of a jilted lover.
Leaders, he said, are elected to build on what is in place and not take the country to the past.
Uhuru asked Kenyans to elect leaders who will continue with the projects he had initiated and not those hell-bent on taking the country backward yet they had an opportunity to serve but failed to do so.
DP defends himself
“If there are challenges they ought to be sorted out instead of telling Kenyans they (leaders) are going to change the good things done,” he said.
Speaking in Tharaka Nithi where he led the Kenya Kwanza brigade in a series of rallies Ruto said he was not to blame for the leadership and economic crises being witnessed in the country.
He once again linked the March 2018 handshake between Uhuru and ODM leader Raila Odinga to the challenges besetting the country.
“You told me you wanted to work with others, I gave you space. So, why apportion blame on me for the problems bedevilling Kenyans?” posed Ruto, in an apparent reference to the president.
He noted that in the first term of the Jubilee Administration, roads, hospitals and schools were built, but claimed that the handshake had made life unbearable for millions of Kenyans.
Ruto was speaking in Mukothima and then Marimanti in Tharaka where governor Muthomi Njuki and Senator Kithure Kindiki listed various roads and other projects that had stalled.
He said while he could show infrastructure and health projects he had done Raila, had no development track record in the region. Ruto said he could point to a Sh400m ICU facility, electricity, technical training institutes and Tharaka University College, roads upgrade and other projects he had brought to the region.
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“What has he (Raila) done in Tharaka Nithi? Has he connected you to electricity or started education and health projects here? Are you going to vote for someone who has delivered projects or one who has not?” he posed.
Ruto said should he be elected president his government would revive the Kithino dam which will supply the region with water for farming.
He said the stalled Miomooni-Mukothima-Gatunga road and other roads will be revamped, and so will the expansion of electricity provision. Prof Kindiki led in disowning the Jubilee ‘failures’ in its second and final term, saying they had done well in the first term before President Kenyatta’s dalliance with Azimio la Umoja One Kenya flag bearer Raila.
“In the first term between 2013 and 2017, you saw there was Jubilee work here and many parts of Kenya. We can account for it is when we got the first tarmac road in Tharaka, the Chiakariga-Marimanti-Gatunga. We also opened Karungaru TTI with Ruto. We can account for our time in Jubilee government between 2013 and 2017,” Kindiki said, adding that immediately Kenyatta was re-elected he betrayed Ruto, himself, Aden Duale and others.
Kindiki said while they took responsibility for the first term they could not do so for the “mess” the country witnessed during Jubilee’s second term.
Uhuru and Raila to blame
“Immediately after the repeat elections the outgoing president relegated his Deputy and looked for someone in opposition and made him the de facto DP. What that means is that while we can account for our time in Government between 2013 and 2017 we take no responsibility for the mess that has been created in the country after 2017,” said Kindiki.
Kindiki said they placed responsibility for high cost of living and stalled projects on Uhuru and Raila, adding the electorate to reject the latter at the ballot.
“We are requesting the outgoing president, you know what you have done to us, we still respect you. We will protect you even in your retirement but please do not try to mess us any further, please forget your project ‘Mr Kitendawili’ and retire with him. We cannot elect him,” Kindiki said.
Ruto’s running mate Rigathi Gachagua pleaded with residents to elect the DP.
He said he and Kindiki had spoken and agreed he should be made running mate, assuring his supporters they would support the senator in future.
He too said Uhuru should take responsibility for the current challenges facing the country which he attributed to his dalliance with Raila.
“Your Handshake partner put our country in crisis and killed our economy. We will revert this problem,” he said in Chogoria town.
Kindiki sought to calm dissatisfaction by residents who were disappointed he was not named as Ruto’s running mate, and urged them to vote overwhelmingly for the UDA presidential candidate.
Kindiki who was fired as Senate Majority Leader and then its Speaker said he and Ruto had been betrayed by the president.
Tharaka MP Gitonga Murugara said Ruto had stood with the region and supported it in development, and said they would support him overwhelmingly.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi said while Azimio were keen to change the Constitution, Ruto was focused on economic transformation.
Muturi, in urging residents to vote for Ruto, said though they respected President Uhuru, they would not accept his aim of having Raila as president.